What's a typical revenue operations career path?
This can take many forms, but most paths will require you to demonstrate an analytical and strategic mindset and the ability to translate business questions and needs to technical work, and vice versa. A successful path I've seen is if you have experience in a certain function (Marketing, Sales, Services, etc.) and move into more of a data role - be the technical expert for your team and help answer questions with data. That was my career path as I started my career as a marketer, specialized in paid marketing, and then realized how much I loved Excel, SQL, etc., and pursued that.
Another route is starting from the technical side with an analytics or data engineering role. The key to success here is obviously having strong technical skills, but more importantly, the ability and willingness to apply those technical skills in conjunction with a strategic mindset. Don't just focus on the technical work, rather, make sure you're always thinking about business context and cross-functional collaboration.
The most common career paths I've seen are for Rev Ops managers to move up the ranks within their orgs or move into Sales orgs, or less commonly, move into product orgs.
The easiest transition is to take on more scope within the revenue Ops org, eg regional to global or taking on more sub functions.
For managers looking for something a bit more different or wanting to start a CRO or COO career path, transitioning to sales manager / sales leader roles can also be possible. It's a good way to "own the number" and take on a larger team size and truly execute against the strategies you have been planning, albeit at a smaller scale.
Another path that I've seen is to move into the product function. This is harder to do and dependent on forming strong relationships and project interactions while in Rev ops, but it's certainly doable!
Career path will vary widely depending on the person. I'll answer this question with the view of "how do I progress my career path in rev ops":
1. Be consistent in your day to day: Build a reputation as a dependable teammate that will get the job done. Do this by hitting timelines, taking ownership of your work, and delivering high quality products.
2. Practice and tailor your communication skills: Be able to inspire confidence from your stakeholders in both verbal and written communications. Do this
a. by concisely articulating your point, use fewer words and use numbers to illustrate
b. focus on a single point you want to get across, the details or ancillary items will take focus away from the main thing
c. tailor you communication to the audience. Put yourself in the shoes of who you're presenting to and consider what they are looking for. Your chief revenue officer is looking for a different message than your peer.
3. Uncover opportunities on your own and have a plan to execute: Finding an opportunity to make the business better, and having a plan to execute on it is one of the biggest differentiators. Chances are, you know your business or scope better than your manager--and you should be thinking about ways to improve it. The difference between "what else can I do?" vs. "this is an opportunity I want to test" is a differentiator.
Depends on what parts of the organization your RevOps team Support. When you hire internally from the teams that you want to Support, these people can help you realize problems that your team needs to solve before someone else has to ask for them. If I wanted to go on to join the RevOps team, I'd start by looking at items that the team is operationalizing for my specific function (it could be Marketing, Sales, Support, anything) and learn the ins and out of it.
I think the revenue operations career path is anything but typical. It's part of the reason why there's so little training and education around how to be a revenue operations leader, and why there is so much demand for good talent.
The ways that I've seen people successfully enter and expand within the revenue operations space is:
- Specialize at first: It's good to have an idea of where you want to focus your initial career development within RevOps. I would start with Sales Ops, Marketing Ops, or CS Ops and learn everything you can around that specific discipline. Try to start in that niche and grow your experience from there.
- Lead to grow: For those of you who want to grow out of the specialized role and into a RevOps leader where you oversee multiple operations functional areas, I would try to get leadership experience in just your specialized area first (Marketing Operations Manager, Sales Operations Manager, etc). If you don't have sufficient leadership skills built up by the time you transition into managing multiple different functional areas, some that you will know better than others, you will likely struggle.
- Take on new challenges: Everyone in RevOps knows that there are more asks than there will ever be time. To uplevel your career path, be selective in what you choose to take on. Every business will present opportunities that align with the core abilities that you can knock out of the park. Start with those, but grow into the things that are slightly outside of your comfort zone that will enable you to expand your experience and grow into a larger role.
I believe the "typical" revenue operations career path varies based on the person. But I typically see team members breaking into Revenue Operations a few different ways:
- Entry level: Coming into an organization at the start of their career in an analyst/system admin role and learning about the different roles in Revenue Operations and determining if want to generalize or specialize
- Transitioning from Specialization: Moving from a speciality such a Marketing Operations into more of a generalized Revenue Operations strategic role where work cross functionally
- Transitioning from Revenue Organization: Working as BDR, SDR, AE and enjoying the operationalize side of the business and making a transition into RevOps
Generally, I think you are starting as a specialist (either in a function: sales, marketing, customer success) or by domain (systems, analytics, etc.) and working to build understanding of other functions and specialities through cross-functional alignment and coordination and moving from execution to strategic delivery.